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Napoleon's Pyramids: A Novelby William Dietrich
Monday, May 19, 2014 07:00 PM
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, OR
In The Three Emperors (Harper), adventurer Ethan Gage travels through the darkest and most superstitious realms of 18th-century Europe, to the castles and caves of Bohemia to rescue his family and uncover a mysterious medieval device rumored to foretell the future. William Dietrich skillfully weaves intrigue and magic, romance and danger in a historical thriller that sprints from the fury of Napoleonic war to the mystic puzzles of Central Europe.
Synopses & Reviews
What mystical secrets lie beneath the Great Pyramids? Traveling with Napoleon's ambitious expedition, American adventurer Ethan Gage solves a five-thousand-year-old riddle with the help of a mysterious medallion.
William Dietrich's books have been hailed for their vivid imagery, evocative atmospheres, impeccable historical accuracy, and ambitious plots. Now, in the breakout novel of his career, he delivers an enthralling story of intrigue, greed, and danger.
Ethan Gage, assistant to Ben Franklin and expatriate American in post-revolutionary France, wins an ancient — and possibly cursed — medallion in a card game one night. It turns out that the medallion, covered in seemingly indecipherable symbols, may be linked to a Masonic mystery. That same night, however, Ethan is framed for a prostitute's murder and barely escapes France with his life.
Faced with either prison or death, Gage is offered a third choice: to accompany the new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, as France sails to conquer Egypt — with Lord Nelson's fleet following close behind. Once Gage arrives, he encounters incredible surprises: one in the form of a beautiful Macedonian slave and another in the dawning knowledge that the medallion may solve one of the greatest riddles of history — who built the Great Pyramids, and why. What is revealed to Gage is more shocking than anyone could ever have imagined.
Moving from the lascivious salons of post-revolutionary Paris to the Mediterranean's high seas to the treacherous sands of Egypt, Napoleon's Pyramids is a riveting, action-packed thriller that will captivate readers and introduce them to this supremely talented author.
"At the start of Dietrich's superb historical thriller, his swashbuckling hero, American Ethan Gage, who's living in Paris during the waning days of the French Revolution and was once apprenticed to Benjamin Franklin, wins a curious Egyptian medallion in a card game. Soon after, he's set upon by thieves, chased by the police, attacked by bandits, befriended by Gypsies, saved by a British spy and then packed off to join Napoleon's army as it embarks on its ill-fated Egyptian campaign. There the story really heats up. Once in Egypt, Gage finds himself beset by evildoers bent on stealing the mysterious medallion. As in previous novels like Hadrian's Wall and Scourge of God, Dietrich combines a likable hero surrounded by a cast of fascinating historical characters. Riveting battle scenes, scantily clad women, mathematical puzzles, mysteries of the pharaohs, reckless heroism, hairsbreadth escapes and undaunted courage add up to unbeatable adventure rivaling the exploits of George Macdonald Fraser's Harry Flashman. Readers will cheer as the indomitable Gage floats off in a runaway hot-air balloon, hard on the trail of his next exotic undertaking. Author tour. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A magnificent adventure, shot through with mystery....A marvelous tale." Bernard Cornwell, author of The Last Kingdom
"[A] big, exciting romp that will keep high-concept thriller fans on the edge of their seats." Booklist
"This work is rousing, swashbuckling fun and proof that a good writer can make history not only interesting but an exhilarating romp." Library Journal
"Dietrich...is never less than authoritative, but when a storyteller's setting is more interesting than his characters, his novel's in trouble." Kirkus Reviews
"Dietrich evokes the beauty and mystery of Egypt....And he doesn't neglect the thriller part of the historical thriller genre....And all the while, Gage wins us over with his American charm and gumption." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"Napoleon's Pyramids is escapist fiction at its ultimate, something to read while you're stuck in traffic — or maybe while you're waiting in line for your turn in a stone sarcophagus." Seattle Times
An 18th-century explorer travels to Egypt as part of Napoleon's great expedition, where he stumbles into a deadly 6,000-year-old mystery. Dietrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is also the author of The Scourge of God and Hadrian's Wall.
“A frothy, swashbuckling tale of high adventure….Escapist fiction at its ultimate.”
“It has a plot as satisfying as an Indiana Jones film and offers enough historical knowledge to render the reader a fascinating raconteur on the topics of ancient Egypt and Napoleon Bonaparte.”
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About the Author
William Dietrich is the author of the novels Hadrian's Wall and Scourge of God, and is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, historian, and naturalist. He lives in Washington State.
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